Careers, Dissemination

The scientific workplace in 2021

From Nature Careers

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The past year delivered challenges as well as opportunities to working scientists around the world. Every week brought new developments: changes in funding (for better or worse), disruptions from a lingering pandemic, fresh warnings about inequity and toxicity in the workplace, and other reminders that careers in science remain dynamic and rewarding, but can also be daunting.

COVID-19 continued to shape science. Surveys of researchers conducted in the first few months of 2021 confirmed that the pandemic had hampered the productivity and strained the mental health of researchers in the United States and the United Kingdom. The disruptions were especially harmful to female scientists, according to a report by the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. A separate survey broadened that to anyone with childcare duties. Shortages of reagents, pipette tips and other supplies forced researchers to scramble and adapt. More than 40% of those who responded to Nature’s global salary and job satisfaction survey in June and July reported that the pandemic had negatively affected their career prospects. Despite all the downsides, some researchers still saw a pandemic silver lining. The results of another Nature poll, published in March, found wide support for the continuation of virtual conferences.

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